CoalfieldMORTONS GAP, Ky. (6/11/18) — The Mortons Gap Coalfield Festival kicked off with a pie-eating contest Saturday.

City Council and festival committee member Wendy Coakley-Smith said the festival began early Saturday with a citywide yard sale. Smith offered freshly baked pies from her restaurant, Sissy’s Cafe, along with a $50 prize for the contest winner.

Among the eight pie-eating entrants, 9-year-old Abigail Mathais and Vanessa Dunning decided to split the purse.

There were pageants for Little Miss and Mister, Miss Pre-teen and Miss Coalfield Festival, with four-year-old Callyn Marsh, dressed like a coal miner, named as Little Mister.

Festival activities included lots of food, live music with Barry Russell and the Southern Bullets, Gospel and Friends with Roger Coakley, David Cooper and Friends and Tessa Dixon-Oglesby. Several participated in a karaoke talent contest and a meet and greet with local political candidates.

Smith said David Cooper was a member of the Cuz Band growing up in Mortons and, and have performed every year at the festival.

“That’s s throw-back,” Smith said, “having people play today that played when I was younger.”

The festival, which began in the late 1970s, is in its 14th year of restoration. The event took place every year until sometime in the 1990’s when it ceased.

CUZ band

The festival revved back up in 2004, thanks to festival founders like 94-year old lifetime resident, Marlene Taliaferro, who wanted to see it come back to her hometown.

Smith said they would like to get back to the old days when the festival was big, noting they got together in April to plan this year’s celebration.
“We have to have a Coalfield Festival and continue the tradition we all grew up with and love,” she said.

2018 Mortons Gap Coalfield Festival

Coalfield pageant winners were: 

Madison Coakley — Miss

Kaylee Hopper — Preteen

Callyn Marsh — Little Mister

Molly Oldham — Little Miss

Coalfied Pageant

Tammy Holloway
SurfKY News Reporter

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